Singing male Prairie Warbler photographed in the southerntier.
Its showtime! This is the month we have all been waiting for! The possibilities are endless. The beauty of May is that you can basically go birding anywhere and expect to see migrants. The birds arrive in pulses, usually accompanying a warm front. On the third Sunday of the month is the annual May Bird Census. Please join us by volunteering some of your time on this day! This year's compiler is Bob DeLeon, please contact him if you can assist with the count at firstname.lastname@example.org.
There is an art to birding in May. Weather plays a huge part on when birds arrive and where they make landfall. Generally speaking, locations along the immediate lakeshores can sometimes be loaded with birds. This is most likely to happen after the passage of a warm front followed by a cold front resulting in rain. The precipitation can ground birds and produce fallout conditions. Of course the planets have to align in order for a fallout to occur, but when it does, its magnificent!
The traditional migrant hotspots are the popular focus in May; Forest Lawn Cemetery, Tifft Nature Preserve, Reinstein Woods, Goat Island, Four Mile Creek State Park and Fort Niagara State Park. On years with cooler weather, leaf bud is delayed the closer you are to the lake shores. Inland locations will tend to leaf out earlier and therefore be more attractive to migrants. Forest Lawn Cemetery is widely acclaimed as a spring destination for Neotropical migrants. This is due to its inland location resulting in earlier leaf out as well as its oasis-like appeal to birds looking for a resting place after a long night of migration. The list of rarities located here is long. Unfortunately migrants this time of year don't tend to linger. These birds are on a race to get back to their breeding grounds.
May still offers hawk flights at the Hamburg Hawkwatch. By this stage of the spring raptor migration, immature Broad-winged Hawks make up the bulk of the numbers as well as young Bald Eagles and Sharp-shinned Hawks. In the early mornings at the hawkwatch site, you can test your skills at identifying overhead passerines. These birds are dispersing inland away from the lakeshore to find suitable foraging habitat for the day.
WNY is not known as a great spring shorebird site, but they do pass through the region in May. The traditional locations are the best area to check; Woodlawn Beach SP, Batavia WWTP and Iroquois NWR. Also worth checking are the farm fields in Niagara and Orleans Counties - especially after a heavy rain. Not only does the rain create temporary mud puddles in agricultural fields for the shorebirds to forage in, but precip events will also ground the birds during their overhead passage. One of the most stunning sandpipers to cross paths with this time of year is the Dunlin. Species such as Solitary and Spotted Sandpipers can be found along creeks and pond edges at Forest Lawn Cemetery, Reinstein Woods and Delaware Park Lake.
Later migrants are still sifting through towards the end of the month, species such as Yellow-bellied and Olive-sided Flycatchers, Mourning and Blackpoll Warblers and Gray-cheeked Thrush.
Memorial Day weekend is the traditional time to look for migrant Whimbrel along the Fort Erie Lakeshore just west of the Peace Bridge. Most Whimbrel migrating through the region cross the fetch of Lake Ontario and there is a watch set up near Toronto to record the thousand-plus birds that pass through annually, all within a few short days. Every year a few birds end up along the rocky shoreline of Fort Erie. Check the end of Kraft Road, Windmill Point and Rock Point Provincial Park. The breakwalls along the Buffalo Outer Harbor would also be worth scoping.
The Buffalo Ornithological Society (BOS) has something to offer to anyone passionate about birds: from the backyard feeder- watcher, the avid lister or the environmental activist, to the dedicated citizen scientist or the professional ornithologist. Society activities include regular programs, field trips, intensive long-term bird counts, checklist and date guide development, varied research activities, and involvement in local conservation efforts. We invite you to join in the activities of the society!
The Buffalo Ornithological Society, Inc. was established in 1929 to promote the study of the birds of the Niagara Frontier Region. Annual grants are awarded by the BOS to fund member-sponsored avian research projects. We are proud of our extensive scientific research databases, our continuing involvement in environmental and conservation activities that impact birds, and our promotion of the enjoyment of ornithology.
The BOS coverage area includes Western New York and parts of nearby Ontario, Canada. This region is rich in bird life with over 380 species and 25 recognizable subspecies of birds recorded. Explore our site to learn more about where to report and find birds, both regional specialties and rare visitors.
Mark Your Calendar Now!
2017 NYS Birders Conference / NYSOA Annual Meeting
November 10-12, 2017
The Buffalo Ornithological Society is hard at work planning the 2017 NYS Birders Conference and NYSOA Annual Meeting. The conference will be held at the new Hilton Hotel right at the entrance to Niagara Falls State Park, November 10-12, 2017 (Veteran's Day weekend).
Why so late in the year? Because the birding is fabulous then! Waterfowl! Gulls! With possibilities for phalaropes, jaegers, and rare or lingering songbirds! You just never know!
Mark your calendar now and check back here for details in the months ahead.
More About the Conference
NEEDED: Writers for the Prothonotary Month
Writers for The Prothonotary Month are needed. Please contact Mike Morgante (email@example.com) if you're willing to help.
Upcoming Field Trips and Events
Several field trips, meetings, and events have recently been added to our calendar. Take a look and be sure to join us at a meeting or on one of our field trips!
See all Events
Jun 14, 2017
Annual June Picnic
Details: (click for more info)
Wednesday, June 14th at 6 PM: our annual June picnic will be held at Tifft Nature Preserve (off Furman Blvd.). The picnic will be followed by a short field trip of Tifft Nature Preserve.
Bring your own food and we will eat at 6:00 PM near the Visitor Center.
Jun 17, 2017
Field Trip - Breeding Birds at Iroquois NWR
Details: (click for more info)
Saturday, June 17th: 7:30 AM to 12:00 PM (rain date of Sunday, June 18th)
Please join the BOS and leader, Celeste Morien, for a field trip at the Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge.
Meet on Meadville Road south of Rt. 77 by the little bridge. This will involve a walk back to the end of the first woods, maybe a .2 miles distance. This will be a carpool tour focusing on nesting Prothonotary Warblers, Purple Martins at Headquarters, Osprey, and hopefully Bald Eagles at Ringneck Marsh, Black Terns at Cayuga Pool, and American Kestrel on Sour Springs Road. Other possible nesting species to observe will be a focus and locations may change accordingly.
If you'd like, bring a lunch to the Visitor's Center picnic tables at the end of the trip.
Leader: Celeste Morien (Ph: 585-721-8202, E: firstname.lastname@example.org)